‘EX­CEL­LENT’ RAMS BOOST WAS­SALL

Dar­ren’s men see off slick Ter­ri­ers

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Brind­ley

DAR­REN WAS­SALL reck­ons Derby are hit­ting their straps at just the right time af­ter seee­ing off stylish Hud­der­s­field.

A goal in each half by Chris Martin and sub­sti­tute Johnny Rus­sell sealed vic­tory over op­po­nents who showed their own ex­cit­ing po­ten­tial. Af­ter their third win in four matches, Derby look good for at least a play-off spot while Hud­der­s­field have too much qual­ity to be dragged into a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle.

“We have 11 cup fi­nals com­ing up but I’m pleased with two suc­ces­sive home clean sheets and our re­cent vic­to­ries,” said Was­sall.

“With matches against QPR and Rother­ham com­ing up, it was im­por­tant we bounced back and we scored two great goals.

“There were some ex­cel­lent per­for­mances, in­clud­ing Tom Ince who could have had a hat-trick.

“Huge credit to Hud­der­s­field too. They started bet­ter than us and they are a good pass­ing side. They didn’t sur­prise us be­cause they have dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion in their last five matches.”

Hud­der­s­field played de­light­ful foot­ball but Derby car­ried the more di­rect threat and even­tu­ally won with plenty to spare. And they had the game’s out­stand­ing threat in Ince, who twice hit the wood­work in a lively dis­play.

Both halves be­gan with the vis­i­tors knock­ing on the door be­fore the Rams got the goal to turn the tide their way.

Both sides had a sight of goal within four min­utes. Cyrus Christie did well to block Harry Bunn’s shot be­fore Nick Black­man slid his shot wide from eight yards.

Richard Keogh’s mis­kick just over his own bar caused a few flut­ters in home ranks and Jamie Pater­son, on loan from For­est, and Joe Lol­ley were both off tar­get.

Man­ager David Wag­ner ap­pears to be get­ting the best out of Pater­son, whose skill on the ball is suited to a po­si­tion just be­hind a lone striker. He caused Derby prob­lems be­fore fad­ing in the se­cond half. Lol­ley, too, was a fre­quent threat al­though striker Nahki Wells never got a sniff.

The flip side of Hud­der­s­field’s slick foot­ball was a ten­dency to give the ball away in their own half. Such a mis­take was snaf­fled on by Ja­cob But­ter­field and Ince’s an­gled shot was de­flected onto a post in the 26th minute.

There was no re­prieve five min­utes later, how­ever, when Christie crossed pre­cisely for Martin to plant a fine header be­yond goal­keeper Jed Steer for his 12th goal of the sea­son.

Pater­son brought the best out of Scott Car­son in the 39th minute and also wasted Hud­der­s­field’s best chance with a weak shot just af­ter the break.

And Derby re­gained the ini­tia­tive with Steer sav­ing from Martin and Ince be­fore the winger blasted a 25-yarder against the bar.

The con­test was as good as over in the 73rd minute when Rus­sell’s left- foot shot from the edge of the area left Steer help­less.

Wag­ner spoke about Hud­der­s­field’s iden­tity af­ter the game and re­mained con­fi­dent their pass­ing style will pro­duce points.

“We had chances early in both halves through Harry Bunn and Jamie Pater­son but I have no com­plaints,” he said. “Derby needed to pro­duce one of their best per­for­mances to beat us and they did. Small, key ar­eas de­cided the game and went for Derby.

“It’s im­por­tant we trust and be­lieve in our­selves and our ideas – some­times they will get us re­sults, some­times not.

“We know we need points be­cause our present to­tal isn’t enough to stay in the Cham­pi­onship. My task also is to find out whether it is ex­pe­ri­ence or qual­ity that we are miss­ing, then ad­dress that in the sum­mer.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

HIT­TING THE HEIGHTS: Chris Martin rises high to score Derby’s first goal

STAR MAN TOM INCE Derby

County

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